For the Indy’s annual review of stories, our writers and editors have put together lists of the stories they were proud of this year, or just enjoyed writing, reporting, or reading. Here are Nick Welsh’s picks.

Bud Bottoms
Paul Wellman

Get Oil Out Founder and Dolphin Sculptor Bud Bottoms Dies

Bud Bottoms was always a welcome breath of fresh air even when he wasn’t. A regular visitor to the offices of the Independent, Bottoms brought a spirit of delight rare in crusading public citizens, and he managed to make it infectious. Bud is best known for his efforts in the wake of the oil spill of 1969 and later for his well nigh ubiquitous dolphin fountains, which foist themselves upon the Body Politic with a great deal of friction. Bud, who died this year, also claimed to have crafted the design for McDonald’s Golden Arches. I could never confirm this claim, but if it was good enough for him, it worked for me, too.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

UCSB Prof Talks New Ruth Bader Ginsburg Book

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is both meme and icon for good reason. At times it seems she’s the very fine line between us and insanity. When UCSB history professor Jane Sherron de Hart wrote the first major biography on Ginsberg, we had to talk. Here’s an abbreviated version.

Supervisor Steve Lavagnino
Paul Wellman (file)

County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino Jumps from GOP Ship

When sanity strikes, attention must be paid.

Mental Illness and Criminal Justice in Santa Barbara County

Grim, grimmer, and grimmest. The sanity trial of Nicholas Holzer, the man who killed his entire family, was as riveting as it was horrific. The details were gruesome, but the underlying issues were even worse. I suffered through it and figured everyone else should too.

Dick Berti
Paul Wellman

Making State Street Great Again

It was the first time the City Council — as a whole — tried to wrap its arms around what’s happening on State Street. Lots of theatrics, finger pointing, and good intentions. State Street proved to be a greased pig then; it still is.

Courtesy Photo

You Can’t Get There from Here, and It’s Not an Accident

Sometimes news is what’s right in front of your face, but you don’t know why. This is a case in point.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt (pictured) visited Casmalia Resources Superfund Site with EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker to announce a final cleanup plan for contaminated soil and groundwater estimated to take five years and cost approximately $60 million. (June 28, 2018).
Paul Wellman

EPA Czar Scott Pruitt Announces Resignation After Partying at Casmalia Toxic Dump

Everyone wanted to know when Scott Pruitt, former EPA director, was going to be forced out. A few minutes after visiting the Superfund Site in Casmalia earlier this year, it happened. But not before Pruitt spent time palling around with former county supervisor Mike Stoker — who launched the now infamous “Lock ‘er Up” chant — who is now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s West Coast regional director. What, we have Superfund Site in Santa Barbara? Yep, we do.

Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Ed France (left) and City Councilmember Jason Dominguez try checkout Limebike scooters on State Street
Jean Yamamura

Invasion of Eletric Scooters Hits Santa Barbara’s State Street

It used to be the Martians; now it’s electric scooters. Taking over everything and ruining real estate values. This is how they do it. And why.

Canndescent CEO Adrian Sedlin at Santa Barbara City's commercial cannabis business application public meeting.
Paul Wellman

Santa Barbara Pot Shops Circling State Street

There’s a Pineapple Express of cash dollars overhead as we speak. It’s called cannabis. Thus far, the City of Santa Barbara has no recreational dispensaries open yet. But not for want of trying. This is what that effort looked like.


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